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  1. Updates on Monday 13 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us for today - thank you for joining us.

You can still catch up with the latest news throughout the night on  BBC Tees ,   BBC Newcastle ,   Look North  and online.

If you'd like to get in touch or share your North East pictures with us, you can do so on   Twitter ,   Facebook  , or via   email at  .

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00.

Weather: Turning cloudier and breezier with some rain

A dry evening with clear spells and light winds. Gradually turning cloudy overnight and becoming breezier, with outbreaks of light rain arriving across the hills from the north later in the night. 

Minimum Temperature: 6C (43F).

Ambulance service progresses from 'severe' to 'moderate' pressure

The trust which runs the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has reduced its operational status to "moderate pressure", after running for more than a year as "severe".

"Moderate" is the second of four levels of alert in the national framework designed to maintain an effective and safe operational and clinical response for the UK's ambulance services.

Since December 2015 NEAS has been operating at level three - "severe pressure" - after its response standards to potentially life-threatening incidents deteriorated below the national target of eight minutes in 75% of all incidents.

NEAS ambulance

The service said the progress was the result of a recruitment and training policy, but there was still "a long way to go".

Please help us reach those patients who need us most by using 999 wisely. Turning up to hospital in an ambulance does not mean you will be seen any quicker."

Paul LiversidgeNEAS chief operating officer

James Arthur cancels concert for 'voice rest'

No stunt double for Vera's Brenda Blethyn

Vera star Brenda Blethyn has revealed she did not use a stunt double in scenes for the forthcoming series which saw her teetering on the edge of a tall building. 

The 71-year-old actress, who plays Det Ch Insp Vera Stanhope in the ITV crime drama which is made in the region, said she does not have a fear of heights.

She said: "That really was me. It was the fifth floor or possibly higher. 

"Every safety precaution was observed and if someone was required to approach the edge their ankles were tethered and at the other end of the rope was a stunt man ready to leap into action should the unthinkable happen."

Brenda Blethyn

The seventh series will see Vera and her team drawn into four more mysteries, including the death of a wildlife ranger, left alone overnight on a remote island. 

Vera returns to ITV on 19 March.

Appeal after elderly woman robbed at bus stop

Police are appealing for information after four males targeted a lone elderly woman at a bus stop. 

The 71-year-old was approached by the group near to Marks and Spencers on Stockton High Street on Saturday evening.

They engaged her in conversation before one of them grabbed her bag and stole £65 from her purse - another then threatened her with violence.

All four then made off in the direction of Maxwell’s Corner.

TSB to create 114 call centre jobs in Sunderland

The TSB bank has announced 114 new jobs at its Sunderland contact centre. 

The bank said it would begin recruiting over the next six months, increasing the workforce at the Sunderland Enterprise Park to around 600. 

Kerry Sharkey, head of telephone banking at the company, said: "We've always found a fantastic pool of talented, enthusiastic individuals in the local area and look forward to welcoming more."  


Sunderland is home to the largest of TSB's two main telephone banking centres, with the other based in Swansea. 

Sunderland already employs about 14,000 people in call centre sector.

Council's 'bold and ambitious' £74m investment plan

Stuart Whincup

BBC Look North

Newcastle and Sunderland fans raise funds for Bradley Lowery

Hartlepool Mail


  A team of Sunderland supporters will take on their Newcastle counterparts in a friendly match in South Tyneside on March 24  to raise cash for five-year-old Bradley Lowery.

Newcastle and Sunderland fans
Hartlepool Mail

Travel: Metros to airport delayed by fault

Your photos: Sunset at Warkworth Castle

Thanks to Len Smith for this colourful image of the sunset at Warkworth Castle in Northumberland taken on Sunday evening.

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to  @BBCNewsNEemail them,  or contact us via our  Facebook page .  

Warkworth Castle
Len Smith

Police seek missing 14-year-old

A 14-year-old who has been missing for a week is being sought by police.

Tjay Gibson, was last seen in Willington on Tuesday, near to Parkside Academy, and police said that since then various enquiries to try and trace him have drawn a blank.  

Tjay Gibson
Durham Police

Durham Police said that because of his age there are concerns for his welfare.

The force is working with colleagues from Northumbria Police, as he is known to have connections in the South Shields area. 

Council unveils plan to create thousands of new jobs and homes

Lisa McCormick

BBC Tees

What is being described as "the most ambitious investment plan in Middlesbrough's history" has been unveiled today.

Middlesbrough Council says the strategy for the next decade will see the area's landscape "change forever". 

It points to an already-rapid rise in house building in the town and says the next regeneration plans will involve £600m investment, creating an estimated 5,000 jobs.

The council launced its investment prospectus at the Riverside Stadium

Mayor Dave Budd said he was confident the plans would bring a fresh phase of prosperity to the town.

Fans jubilant as South Shields FC move closer to Wembley

The Shields Gazette

The Wembley dream has drawn one step closer for South Shields FC. 

The Mariners won 2-1 at Coleshill Town in the first leg of the FA Vase semi-final on Saturday, to the delight of hundreds of travelling supporters.

South Shields FC fans
Shields Gazette

Shop raiders escape with cash after threatening staff

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

Police are appealing for information after a robbery in Sunderland. 

At about 21.50 on Saturday, three men entered the Spa Shop in Ewesley Road, threatened staff and demanded they opened a safe. 

No-one was injured during the robbery, but the raiders did leave with a quantity of cash in the direction of Cleveland Road. 

Police said all those involved had local accents. 

Extra patrols have been mounted in the area.

Teesside Crown Court

Seventy-year-old David Dearlove is accused of murdering his former partner's son.

Read more

Family make 'keepsakes' from fingerprints to remember positives of dad's life

The Gazette


For 18 long months, Becky Kerrison refused to give up hope her missing brother Paul would be found alive.

Tragically, remains found on Redcar farmland on May 25, 2016 were confirmed as his.

Gazette front page
Middlesbrough Gazette

Pedestrian dies in A174 car strike

A pedestrian died when he was hit by a car on the A174 in Middlesbrough.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, was struck by a Skoda Fabia, west of A1044 Low Lane intersection and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cleveland Police has appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision at 04:15, or saw the pedestrian in the area to get in touch. 

Ex-Boro boss McClaren sacked from Derby County

Former Middlesbrough and England manager Steve McClaren has been sacked as Derby County manager for a second time, five months after he was reappointed.

Derby, 10th in the Championship, said they acted following a "significant, unexpected and persistent decline in results, team unity and morale".

Rams chairman Mel Morris said:  "We need a manager who shares our values and who is prepared to develop the team."

Steve McClaren

Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe disruption, between J62 for A690 and J61 for A177.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed and slow traffic on A1(M) southbound between J62, A690 (Carrville) and J61, A177 (Bowburn), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Rail strike: Travellers warned of early end to Northern Rail services

Takeaway boss left counting the cost after South Shields chippy fire

The Shields Gazette

A takeaway boss says he has been left out of pocket after a blaze at a neighbouring South Shields chippy. 

Malu Miah and his staff were forced to flee the Moonlight takeway, on Woodbine Terrace, after a fire broke out at the neighbouring Red Hut fish and chip shop, in Ocean Road, on Saturday night.

Malu Miah
Shields Gazette

Vodafone to create 600 Newcastle jobs

Colin Briggs

Look North

Mobile phone giant Vodafone is to create 600 customer service jobs in Newcastle.

The move is part of a major expansion by the firm, which is creating a total of 2,000 posts throughout the country.

Getty Images

Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery said: "These new, skilled roles will make a real difference to our customers and a real difference to the communities that are the focus of our customer services investment. 

"Our ambition is to give our customers the best experience possible, providing an outstanding level of service and support as we continue to invest in building the biggest and best network in Britain." 

Strike-hit rail firm 'doing everything it can'

A spokesman for parent company Arriva Rail North said: "We will operate around 980 services, around 40% of our usual number of weekday services.

"Services will generally be winding down between 5pm and 7pm.

"Northern is doing everything it can to keep people on the move during the strike.

"The services we will provide are based on the availability and location of Northern employees who are trained conductors. 

"Wherever possible, we are also focusing services on our busiest routes into major towns and cities.

"We don’t expect services to be impacted on 14 March." 

A list of timetable changes can be found here.

Rat Race event

A woman who died after falling ill during a cross country race was a nurse from Northumberland.

Read more

Road delays warning as rail strike hits train services

Traffic delays after A174 closed

A1M reopens after lorry fire

Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe disruption, between J62 for A690 and J61 for A177.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed and slow traffic on A1(M) southbound between J62, A690 (Carrville) and J61, A177 (Bowburn), because of a vehicle fire.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A19 Tyne And Wear northbound

BBC News Travel

A19 Tyne And Wear northbound severe disruption, at A194 Leam Lane.

A19 Tyne And Wear - A19 in Primrose, Jarrow lane closed on exit slip road and slow traffic northbound at Lindisfarne Roundabout, because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Rail union claims 'rock solid support' for strike

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, says there is "rock solid" support for the 24-hour strike which has hit services on Northern Rail.

He said: "RMT's action on Arriva Rail North is absolutely rock solid as our members ‎fight for passenger safety and the retention of the guard on the Northern Rail services. Our pickets are out across the franchise and the response has been fantastic.  

"Arriva Rail North should listen to their staff, listen to the public and recognise that there is no case whatsoever for axing the guard from their trains. 

"This action could have been avoided if Arriva hadn't back-pedalled from earlier pledges to retain the guard. 

"It is now down to the company to ‎get that pledge back on the table and engage with the union in talks over a safe and sustainable future built around the guarantee of a guard on the trains."

Only 40% of Northern services are running, the company said.

The firm has also put on 300 replacement buses to offset effects of the industrial action .

Police say A174 at Middlesbrough to stay closed

Traffic 'moving' despite rail strike disruption

Chilly, but with some bright spells

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

A bright and chilly start, but turning cloudier for a time in the morning. 

Most places remaining dry, but some light rain may affect higher ground. 

Weather map

Sunny spells will develop through the afternoon, especially towards the coast. 

There'll be some mild southwesterly winds, with maximum temperatures hitting about 12C (54F).

Later, cloud will increase and gradually thicken with some rain and drizzle arriving after midnight. 

Overnight temperatures should stay around 7C (45F).